With seconds left in the fourth quarter, Redwood captain Wyatt Barker held the ball with his team trailing Tam by one. Tightly defended, Barker attempted a final shot, but the ball ricocheted off the goal post and landed inches away from the goal line, as the varsity boys’ water polo team lost a heartbreaker to Tam on Tuesday in the final game of the regular season.
Redwood mounted a fourth quarter rally, led by sophomore Tor Parawell, who scored a clutch goal with only two minutes remaining. But their comeback fizzled in the final seconds as the Hawks prevailed.
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“They showed up as a team… We didn’t play to our full potential,” said Redwood senior captain Francesco Cico. “Today Tam wanted it more, that’s why we lost.”
Senior captain Tim Peterson said that Redwood entered the game with an aggressive approach which may have led to an early deficit.
“We wanted to really attack while we were at their pool and we wanted to try to keep some press up,” Peterson said.
However, this plan failed early as Tam became the aggressor, outscoring Redwood 3-1 in the first quarter with an early goal from Cian Cocannon and numerous saves from goalkeeper John Luster.
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Redwood was unable to respond because of failed execution on power plays and a missed penalty shot in the first quarter, according to Cico.
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But after outscoring Tam in the second quarter and keeping the score close in the third, Redwood entered the fourth quarter down only two goals, by a score of 8-6. Unfortunately for the Giants, the deficit proved to be too large to overcome.
This loss makes Redwood the third seed for the MCAL playoffs, as they finished with a regular season record of 10-2. Redwood looks to bounce back in their first playoff game against San Marin on Thursday Oct. 27.
If Redwood wins against the Mustangs, they play Tam again on Friday, which heightened the pressure of this game, according to Peterson.
“It set the standard for this weekend [MCAL Playoffs]. We knew that Tam was going to be our biggest rival this year and we obviously wanted to come in with a winning record,” he said. “But last year we lost to them by a bigger margin in the regular season and kicked their asses in the postseason, so that’s our plan again.”